We tested the hypothesis that predation by coyotes (Canis latrans) impacts pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations. We did so by examining the effects of coyote removal on pronghorn and mule deer populations within 12 large areas (>10,500 km2) located in Wyoming and Utah during 2007 and 2008. Pronghorn productivity (fawn to adult female ratio) and abundance were positively correlated with the number of coyotes removed and removal effort (hours spent hunting coyotes from aircraft) although the correlation between pronghorn productivity and removal effort was not statistically significant (P = 0.08). Mule deer productivity and abundance were not correlated with either the number of coyotes removed or removal effort. Coyote removal conducted during the winter and spring provided greater benefit than removals conducted during the prior fall or summer. Our results suggest that coyote removal conducted over large areas increases fawn survival and abundance of pronghorn but not mule deer.
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Vol. 75 • No. 4